The Indian Defence Minister Arackaparambil Kurian Antony on Tuesday called for the adoption of ‘cooperative approaches’ for ensuring the security of sea lanes in the Asia-Pacific Region, in his address to the first ASEAN Plus Eight Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) in Hanoi in Vietnam. According to a report sent in by Sitanshu Kar of the Indian Ministry of Defense, Antony called piracy a serious challenge and said India had been helping increase security in both, the Straits of Malacca as well as the Gulf of Aden.
“The Indian Navy is actively engaged in providing anti-piracy patrolling and escort operations in the Gulf of Aden for over two years now,” Kar quoted Antony as saying, also reporting him to add, “Through the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) and the Malacca Straits mechanisms, we are partnering with other countries in the region to improve the safety of navigation in the region. Cooperative approaches on maritime security would offer benefits for the region as a whole.”The ADMM Plus forum has for the first time brought together the defence establishments of all the key nations in the region with the objective of addressing non-traditional security challenges.
“The growth of terrorism, the growing role of non-state actors, cyber threats etc are markers in the evolution of the global security construct during the last decade or so. Asia has been the theater for the unfolding of many of these developments. Given the transnational nature of the challenges, it is important to develop synergy and build institutionalized cooperative arrangements”, Antony said.
Antony also welcomed the Hanoi Joint Declaration, saying it would provide a viable framework for multilateral defense and security dialogue and cooperation in the region. He extended New Delhi’s support for the five priority areas identified for cooperation and the idea of having expert groups to develop cooperation in these areas. “India looks forward to contributing to the deliberations and activities of each of these Groups,” he said.
Antony also got a chance to meet the Chinese Minister of National Defense General Liang Guanglie. In China, the Ministry of National Defense is fairly low in the hierarchy and has no power over the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which reports to the Central Military Commission (CMC) and the Party.